Psychedelia in the Movies, Part 2
The new Psypress UK 2015 Vol V Journal contains Part 2 of my exploration of psychedelic movies, taking the story into the late 1990s and up to the present. Films containing notable trip sequences include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Enter the Void, and A Field in England, and clips can be viewed below. Other trippy movies featured include the sci-fi-oriented A Scanner Darkly and Inception, and here trailers are posted, as they convey the overall weird ambience better than any particular isolated scene.
The article also features a look at the history of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in cinema, in particular the Tim Burton adaptation, with its highly psychedelic production design, further enhanced by 3-D. A clip of Burton’s Mad Hatter’s tea party is included, together with another Alice short animation, Malice in Wonderland, which is particularly trippy in its constantly metamorphosing effects. The clips follow the same order as the accounts in the text.
Psypress 2015 Vol V also features inspiring pieces from Graham St John, James Oroc, Julian Vayne, Jani Pestana and David Luke. To purchase a copy please visit the Psypress Shop.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). This clip shows the latter part of the hotel lobby ‘Sunshine’ acid trip, where the carpet liquefies as reality distorts and the barroom clientele transmogrify into giant leering lizards. Heavy or what!
A Scanner Darkly (2006). This trailer gives a good impression of the unique overall schizoid hallucinatory feel of the movie. The animation overlay, achieved through interpolated rotoscoping, hovers ambiguously between real and cartoon; and then there’s that being from the next world, with a head covered in eyes…
Enter the Void (2009). The film’s early DMT sequence, with the viewpoint reaching out into a world of unfolding fractal crystalline geometries and colourful ever-metamorphosing amoeboid forms. These visual effects, by the BUF Company, are astounding in their precision, and the comparison to the ‘Star Gate’ sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey is unavoidable.
A Field in England (2013). The mushroom trip sequence, which creates a fractal pattering quality through careful choice and repetition of images, and eventually reaches a delirious frenzied pitch of stroboscopic trip mimicry that is strangely all the more effective for being in monochrome rather than colour.
Inception (2010). In this notably trippy sci-fi blockbuster, Christopher Nolan uses a shared lucid dreaming domain as his medium of alterity, which throws up many opportunities for ambivalent dream-or-reality scenarios, and also for creating a range of depths and intensities of dream-space itself.
Malice in Wonderland (1982). Somewhat dubious sexual elements and wildly inventive psychedelia appear in this lesser-known animation short, where fluid constantly metamorphosing forms recreate the Alice story as Escher-on-acid in Yellow Submarine colours – very authentically trippy overall.
Alice in Wonderland (2010). The Mad Hatter’s tea party sequence, which well illustrates the hallucinatory visual effects composited nature of the film, with flesh-and-blood characters, differently scaled, interacting with animated ones in a CGI environment. But it has to be seen in 3-D to be fully appreciated.
Click here for a similar collection of movie clips associated with Part 1 of Psychedelia in the Movies (appearing in Psypress UK 2015 Vol IV).